mask

Spa Day Essentials Featuring Blossom Lounge

With a long weekend just a couple of days away, it’s the perfect time to prepare for some rest and relaxation.  And hey, why not make your extra day off feel like one spent at the spa?  Today, I’m featuring 3 fun products to help you do just that.  All can be purchased at Blossom Lounge, located in Toronto’s Distillery District (I’ve featured them previously here and here). Be sure to follow them on social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter) to stay up to date on new arrivals and more!

1. Graydon Clinical Luxury Superfood Mask + Scrub

This unique mask gently exfoliates and brightens skin, and is formulated with 19 superfoods (including papaya, matcha green tea, white willow bark, cinnamon, activated charcoal, and more!).  Each mask is individually portioned in a vegetable-derived capsule to ensure the product stays as fresh as possible, without oxidizing.  So how do you use it?  With clean, dry hands, simply break open a capsule (learn more here), mix it with your favourite creamy cleanser, soap, or face oil, and massage it into your skin.  Leave it on for as long as you’d like (try for at least 3-5 minutes), and then rinse off with water.  Repeat up to 3 times per week.  For an even more natural touch, try mixing the mask with ingredients such as full-fat yogurt, raw honey, coconut oil, or mashed avocado instead of your cleanser!

 2. Trust Fund Beauty Nail Polish in “Subtly Sassy”

This nail polish is the perfect everyday, cool-toned, nude (seriously, it matches everything).  But aside from being the perfect shade, it’s also an impressive, long-wearing polish: mine lasted a week with just a basic base and top coat.  The rich, creamy, 7-free formula only requires 1-2 coats, which, let’s be real, is a rarity in the light-toned, cream-polish world.  Another perk?  It’s also vegan and cruelty free.

 3. Coal and Canary Candle in “Gimme Some Sugar”

This candle’s unique notes of brown sugar, honey, yam, and vanilla, make it the perfect cozy-up-and-relax scent (and may also make you crave baked goods!).  Hand poured and made in small batches, these Canadian-made candles are created with only the highest quality soy/vegetable wax blends and fragrance oils.  The wooden wick burns cleanly (no smoke or soot here!) and provides a soothing crackle when lit. What I love most about the brand, aside from their unique scents, are their fun, catchy product names.  Some examples: “Good Beats & Eatin’ Sweets“, “Hiking Trails and Breaking Nails“, and “Peach Pies & Cute French Guys“.   Coal and Canary candles are 8 ounces each, and the burn time is an impressive 45-50 hours.

Which product are you most excited to try?  Let me know in the comments below!

*Products provided for consideration.  All thoughts and opinions are honest and are my own.  
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A Trip to the Beach (In your Shower!)

I love pretty much anything that reminds me of the beach: Pina Coladas, pineapples, seashells, and, of course, coconuts (fun fact: I used to wear sunscreen to school in the Winter because I loved the scent that much).  Thanks to Hask Beauty, taking a trip to the beach is as easy as taking your morning shower with their Monoi Coconut Oil collection.  So what is Monoi Coconut Oil, you ask?  It’s a mixture of pure coconut oil and Tahitian gardenias; a combination commonly used by Polynesian women to nourish and protect their hair from the elements (sand, wind, and sun).  Even better? All of Hasks’s products are free of sulfates, parabens, gluten, artificial colours, and drying alcohols.  Their products are also used on many film and television sets (more than any other brand!).   I mean, who doesn’t want to use the same styling products as Olivia Pope?!  You can find their products in many countries throughout the world; visit their website to find a retailer near you! But for now, keep reading to learn more about the products pictured above from the Monoi Coconut line (which are safe for all hair types).

1.Monoi Coconut Oil Nourishing Shampoo

This shampoo is perfection:  from the scent, to the formula, and the results.  As someone with oily hair, I’m always looking for products that won’t add any weight or residue.  This shampoo lathers nicely and evenly, leaves hair feeling clean, and obviously, smells amazing.

2.Monoi Coconut Oil Nourishing Conditioner

As I mentioned before, having oily hair means that conditioning products can sometimes be a little scary.  I want my hair to feel soft and look shiny, but most importantly I want it to look and feel clean.   I apply this conditioner in the shower after shampooing, and leave it in for a few minutes while I wash my body, shave, or sing (come on, you do it too!).  When I wash it out, my hair is left feeling soft, detangled, and moisturized without any extra weight or greasiness.   Oh yeah, and did I mention these products smell fantastic?…

 3.Monoi Coconut Oil Nourishing Deep Conditioner

Used 1-2 times per week, this deep conditioner helps moisturize and repair damage.  Just apply to wet, clean hair, leave in for 10 minutes or so, and rinse well.  My preference is to start by applying it to the ends of my hair (where I have more damage) and work my way up to my scalp.  This product (along with the SHINE Oil below) is so popular that one is purchased every 5 seconds!

 4.Monoi Coconut Oil Nourishing SHINE Oil

I’ve always used and loved hair oils because of their versatility.  You can use them on wet hair to help moisturize and detangle, or you can use them on dry hair to help tame frizzy hair and add shine.  This oil is the perfect consistency and weight, allowing it to absorb quickly and work its magic without making hair greasy or oily.  Just remember to use a small amount, and concentrate on the ends of your hair (avoid applying directly to your roots).

Have you tried any Hask Beauty products before?  Let me know in the comments below!

*Products provided for consideration.  All thoughts and opinions are honest and are my own.

5 Products to Help Heal and Hide a Breakout

Breakout Survival Kit

First off, happy New Year!  I hope you all had a wonderful and relaxing holiday season.  My holidays were filled with lots of food, fun, and family activities, and unfortunately, a breakout that proved trying on my nerves and emotions.  I’d struggled with acne for a few years in my late teens and early twenties, but have been lucky enough to have it under control for the past 5 years or so.  In early November of last year, my skin went crazy.  After changing all of my makeup, skincare, laundry detergent, even pillows, I finally came to the realization that it was likely a hormonal breakout (lucky me).  Let’s face it (pun intended): acne is not fun, but the good news is that there are some amazing products out there that can help you treat, heal, and hide your breakouts.  Today, I want to share with you 5 of the products that have helped me out these past few months; ones that I’m super happy to have found and will continue to use long after I’ve broken up with my breakout.

1. Neutrogena Naturals Acne Foaming Scrub

What I love about this scrub is that it’s gentle but effective.  Naturally derived salicylic acid treats your breakout while also exfoliating by removing dirt, oil, and dead skin.  When you have a breakout, you’ll want to resist the urge to use harsh, grainy exfoliants which will only irritate and inflame your skin.  This cleanser leaves my skin feeling fresh, clean, and calm.  Aside from a few ingredients to help maintain freshness, it is 93% naturally derived, meaning it won’t harm the environment on the way down the drain, either.

2. Vichy Normaderm Tri-Activ Mask

While you can use this product daily as an exfoliating cleanser, my preference is to use it as a mask (1-2 times per week).  Clay, glycolic acid, and salicylic acid create a “peeling effect” on your skin to help with uneven texture, acne, dilated pores, and excess oil (results that last up to 3 days!).  Simply apply the product to cleansed skin, leave on for 5 minutes, and then rinse with warm water, moving your fingertips in circular motions to help further exfoliate the skin.  Oh, and don’t attempt to carry on any serious conversations during the 5 minute drying time: this mask seriously dries and hardens (which is actually really fun to experience).  A soothing agent avoids any dryness or discomfort once the mask is removed, and it is hypoallergenic and safe for sensitive skin.

3. Dermalogica Hydrablur Primer

I was lucky enough to receive samples of this product during the most recent Spark Sessions blogger conference, and haven’t looked back since.  Whether you have acne or not, this product is impressive (for all skin conditions).  Hydrablur locks in moisture (thanks to Abyssinian Seed Oil), decreases the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, reduces the appearance of pores (courtesy of Mushroom Extract), mattifies, and enhances skin’s radiance (Wu-Zhu-Yu Fruit Extract boots microcirculation).  Essentially, it creates a soft blurring effect on your skin helping to hide imperfections, while also helping skin look and feel moisturized throughout the day.  You can pair this primer with your favourite foundation, or, thanks to micro-encapsulated tint, you can also wear it alone.  It’s lightweight, non-greasy, and really does create the perfect canvas for makeup application.  Because of all these amazing benefits, this product has proved especially helpful in covering up acne and other imperfections.

4. Vichy Dermablend Corrective Fluid Foundation

This foundation has become one of my all-time favourites.  I went to Shoppers Drug Mart in search of a high-coverage foundation (my exact words: “I’d like the highest coverage humanly possible”), and was recommended this product by the Beauty Boutique representative.  Note: new packaging means you might find it as Dermafinish instead of Dermablend.  This foundation is extremely lightweight, but provides impressive, full coverage (so much so, that you might not even need a concealer).  It boasts an impressive 16 hour wear, has SPF 30, and is non-drying.  It’s hypoallergenic, allergy tested, and is safe for sensitive skin.  I wear the shade 25 Nude and like to apply this product with my fingers.  I apply a base coat first, and if needed, go over any visible imperfections with a second layer.  Highly recommend!

5. Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer

Until recently when my breakout started, I wasn’t able to fully appreciate the coverage abilities of this product.  It applies evenly, is non-drying (in fact it moisturizes the skin), and builds from medium to full coverage.  I pair mine (in the shade “Custard”) over top of the foundation above, and they blend perfectly.  This concealer is also effective at covering dark circles, hiding fine lines and wrinkles, and reducing redness.  Perfect for all skin types and in a range of 10 shades, there’s a reason why it’s a blogger, vlogger, and makeup artist favourite!

Have you tried any of these products? Are there other must-have products that help you with breakouts?  Let me know in the comments below! 

Review: Moroccan Ghassoul Clay Face, Body, and Hair Mask


ZakiasMorocco

After reading about Zakia’s Morocco Moroccan Ghassoul Clay Powder, I was excited by its versatility: you can use it as a face mask, a hair mask, a clarifying shampoo, or as a whole body treatment.  This product is made of 100% pure, natural clay mined in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, and has cleansing, toning, detoxifying, and rejuvenating properties.

So how does it work?  All you need is the Ghassoul powder and water (and of course, a small bowl and spoon for mixing).  After testing out this product as a facial mask, I found the best ratio for me was 3 tablespoons water to 1 heaping tablespoon of powder (so that it becomes a pasty texture).  Simply apply it to your face, let dry for around 10 minutes, and rinse off! Use this mask weekly for the best results. Want the full-body experience? Just make more!

For the hair mask, simply follow the same directions to create the paste, apply to your scalp and hair, and leave on for 5-10 minutes.  For the clarifying shampoo, simply mix a palm-full of your favourite shampoo with an equal amount of Ghassoul powder, mix it together, and shampoo your hair as you normally would.  This is not something I’ve tried yet, but is next on my list as I love a good clarifying treatment!

My experience. I found the mask super easy to prepare and apply, and simple to wash off.  All it took was a few splashes of water on my face to rinse it all away, leaving my skin feeling toned and refreshed.  As someone with really oily skin, I loved that it left my face feeling smooth and matte.  The instructions state that you may notice your skin becomes slighly reddish for 15-30 minutes after use (as the skin is detoxified), but personally I didn’t experience this.  What’s also great is that this mask is gentle enough to naturally treat common skin irritations such as acne, psoriasis, and eczema.

Overall, the Moroccan Ghassoul Clay Mask is both effective and a great value for money: it’s basically 4 products in one!  Want to give it a try?  Zakia’s Morocco is offering 20% off their entire store, just use the code: ZMBLOG-214.  In addition to this, Zakia’s Morocco will be giving away 10 gift certificates valued at $50.00 each! To enter, click here.

Have you tried this mask? Or are you going to be purchasing? Let me know in the comments below!

*Product provided via Brandbacker for consideration.  All opinions are honest and are my own.

 

 

New Year, New You: 2015

New Year New You 2015

Well, it’s here: 2015!  And, a new year means that it’s time for my “New Year, New You” series (check out last year’s here), where I take a few of the top new-year’s resolutions, and match them up with fun, new products that may even inspire you to hold true to your resolution past January!

1. Eat Healthier:

Just like working out, you somehow feel that much more motivated when you have some new gear to use. These new “LunchBlox” kits from Rubbermaid allow you to customize your lunch bag in a fun way (the containers snap together), while also allowing you to be mindful of portion-sizes (the individual containers have measurements on the sides). Need to keep your lunch cool? Just add a “Blue Ice” snap-in, and you’re good to go!  You can purchase starter kits, such as the one above, or individual containers to customize your lunch any way you please. The containers are microwave, dishwasher, and freezer safe, and have lids that seal securely.

2. Drink More Water:

So, I know, this one kind of goes along with “Eat Healthier”, but as an avid mug collector I couldn’t leave out the opportunity to include a fun water bottle! This “S’Well ‘Hers’ Shimmer Water Bottle” from Chapters/Indigo is not only adorable, it’s also made of double-walled aluminum, allowing you to keep your water nice and cool (or your tea nice and hot) for hours. It is also “virtually unbreakable”, and has a mouth-opening wide enough to add ice cubes.  Another thing I’m loving lately: adding a few squirts of Crystal Light Aloha Pineapple Coconut Liquid Drink Mix to my water (and then pretending I’m on a beach).    

3. Get More Sleep:

This resolution speaks not only to catching more hours of zzz’s, but also to getting a better quality sleep. I’ve learned from experience, that having a room lit up by 15 different electronic devices does not help your sleep situation. I’ve also learned that the blue light emitted from your phone actually tells your body to wake up, so those last-minute Twitter checks may be preventing you from falling to sleep sooner. I recently received one of these Bucky40 Blinks Sleep Masks” for Christmas, and was pleased to discover that they they block out light perfectly, and also have an adjustable strap so you can sleep comfortably (no headaches here!). Even better? They have deep eye-cups, so you don’t need to worry about messing up your eye makeup during mid-day naps (you can even use them to protect eyelash extensions)!

4. Workout More Often:

Remember what I said in the “Eat Healthier” section? New gear (a.k.a shopping)=motivation. It also helps when the gear itself has a fun motivational phrase on it, such as those from Blogilates. One of my favorites? This blueberry-coloured “Train Insane or Remain The Same” gym tank.  Other fun ones are the “Stronger Every Day” tank, and the “Sore Muscles Happy Pain” Y-tank. Don’t lie, you feel like hitting up the gym now, don’t you!?

5. Read More Books:

A simple solution to the “I don’t have time to read” excuse is Audible (because we all have time to listen, whether it’s while we’re commuting to work, while we’re cleaning the house, or while we’re lying in bed).  Audible offers a membership program, where $14.95/month gets you a credit for one audio book, plus 30% off additional books (and, should you choose to end your membership, you can keep all your audio books, no questions asked).  Sign up now to receive your first audio book free! Some of the books I’ve been loving lately? My Story by Elizabeth Smart and #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso.

6. Try Something New/ Treat Yourself:

While I purchased this late in 2014, I still consider my Clairsonic Mia 2 (in the colour “Joy”) to be “something new”.  It’s also something I’d been debating treating myself to for a few years.  After learning more about it during the Spark Sessions conference, I decided to take the plunge.  I was lucky enough to have little to no “purging” (basically, where your skin breaks out over the span of a few weeks as it cleans out your pores).  I use the sensitive brush daily, and then add in the deep pore brush 1-2 times a week.  I’ve definitely noticed a difference in the smoothness of my skin, and am excited to continue seeing results as time goes on.  I highly recommend trying out the Clarisonic, and with a 90-day 100% money back guarantee, what have you got to lose? Don’t forget to sign up at Clarisonic.ca for tips, tricks, and discounts!

“And now let us welcome the new year, full of things that have never been” ~Rainer Maria Rilke

 

 

Festive White Chocolate Matcha Cookies!

White Chocolate Matcha Cookies

Until recently, the occasional store-bought latte was the only “recipe” for Matcha (green tea powder) I knew of.  It turns out there are a large number of ways to use this product, and an even larger number of benefits of using it.  After receiving my Kiss Me Organics Organic Matcha Green Tea Powder (sold exclusively on Amazon: US, Canada, and UK), I did two things: 1. Made a delicious (homemade) Matcha Latte, and 2. conducted a Google search to find a fun, festive recipe (I decided on this recipe from Just One Cookbook; they were simple to make and they taste delicious).  I especially love how the Matcha powder gives the cookies a festive green hue, perfect for this time of year! But what’s even better, are the awesome benefits that the Matcha powder in these cookies has to offer (with just a simple daily dose of 1/2-1 tsp!):

-Boost metabolism

-Increase energy level

-Increase ability to concentrate/focus

-Improve skin health (you can also create a face mask: simply add a few drops of water to 1 tsp of Matcha powder, leave on you face for 20 minutes, then rinse with warm water!)

-Burn more calories

-Anti-aging benefits

-Because Matcha powder uses the entire tea leaf, it has up to 137X the antioxidants of brewed green tea.

What I especially like about the Kiss Me Organics powder (aside from the fact that it is very highly rated, and is a #1 best seller on Amazon), is that it is Certified Organic: the product comes right from a United Nations recognized farm in Japan!  The product blended perfectly in both recipes I used (the cookies and the latte), and I especially love that it comes in a resealable package to keep the powder fresh and protect the potency.  For $29.00 CND, you’ll receive a 6-week supply, an electronic guide with recipes, and free shipping.  And, if you’re like me, you’ll also receive the urge to add Matcha powder to nearly everything you eat: next up on my list of recipes to try? Matcha cupcakes and Matcha ice cream!

FTC: This post is sponsored by Kiss Me Organics, however all opinions are my own.